What is Surgery To Drain Excess Fluid?

Certain health conditions can result in a buildup of fluid in certain tissues, known as 'edema'. Whilst this problem can usually tackled with proper positioning of the affected body part, it is sometimes necessary to manually drain the fluid from the body. This is especially true if the fluid is built up in or around the vital organs (e.g. heart and lungs) and is preventing them from properly functioning. To accomplish this, the surgeons will temporarily install 'drains' in the body which will draw the excess fluid out.

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Surgery To Drain Excess Fluid Procedure in Dogs

Many fluids can simply be drained via the use of a hypodermic needle and local anesthesia. More serious cases which require the installation of a drain will need general anesthesia to be administered before surgery can begin. The surgeon will then shave a small area where the drainage tube will be inserted before making the incision (which will typically be only a few inches long). Next, the surgeon will insert the end of the tubing into the affected cavity and secure it in place. The other end will be connected either to a flask for the fluid to naturally drain into via gravity, or to a pump which will pull the excess fluid out of the body. Depending on the severity of the fluid retention, the drain may be removed after surgery or left in to manage liquid levels over a longer period of time.

Efficacy of Surgery To Drain Excess Fluid in Dogs

The results of drainage should be apparent immediately, with the dog displaying a noticeable reduction in swelling and other symptoms. For dogs suffering from heart or breathing problems, an increased level of activity will usually be noticeable relatively quickly. The length of time until these effects start to fade is dependent on the severity of the problem and any complementary treatment methods that are being used. Alternatives to drainage include the use of diuretic drugs, which promote the expulsion of liquid in the form of urine, leaving excess fluids to be absorbed by the body. While effective in the long term, diuretics do not offer the quick results that manual drainage does and thus are not normally used as an emergency measure.

Surgery To Drain Excess Fluid Recovery in Dogs

A surgical drain will usually not be left in place for long, as this can lead to issues such as loss of mobility in the affected body part. A normal period of time for a drain to be left in varies from between a couple of hours to a couple of weeks depending on the needs of the patient. The dog will often be kept overnight at the veterinary clinic for observation as the drainage completes, so most owners need not worry about maintaining the drain at home. After the drain has been removed and the incision closed, the vet will release the dog back to the owner, who can then expect to follow normal post-surgery aftercare guidelines (i.e. not letting the dog pull at their sutures, restricting exercise as needed, and administering painkillers). A series of weekly follow-up visits to the vet will also be necessary in order to ensure that the surgical wound and underlying condition are healing as expected.

Cost of Surgery To Drain Excess Fluid in Dogs

As drainage of fluid is a relatively straightforward procedure, most owners can expect the price to be below $600. However, depending on the length of time that the dog needs the drain in place, this price could increase substantially.

Dog Surgery To Drain Excess Fluid Considerations

One of the main problems with drainage is the fact that it effectively maintains an open wound, meaning that infection is an ever-present risk. The use of general anaesthetic can also be of concern to some dog owners, as certain breed dispositions and health conditions can increase the risk of respiratory failure whilst in surgery. That said, vets will generally not recommend drainage unless it is absolutely necessary and is vital to the good health of the dog.

Surgery To Drain Excess Fluid Prevention in Dogs

To avoid the conditions that require surgical drainage, owners can ensure that their dog enjoys regular exercise and structured play. This is great way to strengthen the cardiovascular system and avoid many degenerative heart diseases. It also strengthens the dog's bones and joints, thereby mitigating the risk of many of the injuries (such as compound fractures) that can lead to fluid retention.